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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  January 9, 2016 4:00am-6:01am EST

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incredibly important and courageous work around the world and was the victim of a terrible tragedy. the most famous and worst single tragedy of the entire fall of 2015 in afghanistan. certainly in terms of a tragedy that we all would have liked to see avoided and that was caused by mistakes made by the u.s. military and afghan security forces and we'll discuss that issue as well. vanda and i are very honored to have our colleague with us here. he is an active duty marine corps officer with considerable experience in the broader middle east conflict found in previous assignment area -- assignments. we are pleased to have him in brookings. he draws on this great repository in his mind on various issues that get to the heart of what happened. usebasic question of how to
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military power in as safe away as possible in a difficult combat environment. he has experienced, not only as a pilot but also as an individual who helped coordinate unmanned aerial situations with a background as well in foreign area operations. he has a sophisticated understanding of the way in which military operations affect populations in which they take place. vanda is the author of the aspirations of excellence when , we had an event at brookings, one of our co-panelists described that in words i would concur with as the single best book on afghanistan conflict in recent years. she also wrote her first book which was a nexus of counter narcotics, counterinsurgency criminality, and the ways in , which these issues and concerns occur in places like i -- like afghanistan. she has done a great deal of field research in afghanistan
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and other countries. she has wrestled with the issue of human security and the broader issue of trends and governance -- in governance and operations in politics in afghanistan as well. i will say one more brief word of introduction and pass things onto vanda. proceed,vandaill will give us a lay of the land and afghanistan. she was there in the fall and had an extensive as it. i had a much shorter visit in december myself. i will try to guide the conversation and interject in response to questions but we , will start with vanda. then we will go to and von -- ann von. beguncohen will been about whatever topics he wishes to. certainly the kunduz tragedy will be paramount on his mind as
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it should be for all of us. then che will give us a broader interpretation of how things stand from a military point of view. , will add one final word here basically to summarize my take on afghanistan today. despite reason for hope it all. i think we are going to hear a lot of reasons to be worried, a lot of policies that have to change, a lot of bad things that are happening, and reasons to believe this country is very fragile, and perhaps on the precipice of being able to put altogether. i will note two things that give me some reason for hopefulness , and i will frame this as not i hope too much happy talk but as a way to hold onto things here. one thing is for every military setback we have seen, we have seen at least some counter resolution or some degree of
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cause for hope that the afghan particular the afghan police have resilience and a willingness to keep trying. they often need help, there is still corruption in the ranks, there is still an overly excessive tendency to focus on checkpoint manning rather than offensive operations, there are a lot of problems. if we look at the case of kunduz , for all of the tragedies that transpired there with a telegram to go over afghanistan's fifth largest city in the fall it was afghan forces that took , city back within a couple of weeks. that is a reason for hope. a second reason for hope is the afghan people themselves. the asia foundation does wonderful work each year. they put out a survey area the survey -- survey. the survey this past fall showed a lot of concern among the afghan people that they had seen deterioration in their personal security, greater fear about
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their well-being than they had in the previous year's grid -- years. and that was all very bad news and very sobering. they also expressed high confidence in their own army and police and they expressed, believe it or not, a certain happiness. we have a colleague here who studies happiness, and has long pointed out the afghan people have something about them that is resilient. maybe happiness is a little is ag, but certainly there degree of an eight optimism that remains, and that was the parent of nichols as well -- apparent in the polls as well. without further a do, we proceed to our main themes of the overall course of politics and military operations in afghanistan, the well-being of the afghan people, and the role of ngos in that effort, let me turn things over to vanda. vanda: good morning to you all, happy new year, it is wonderful to see you here. it is wonderful to focus on afghanistan where so much
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lyrical, u.s. attention is focused. -- so much political attention is focused. but afghanistan remains a crucial country, one in which we have made a commitment and where we also have tremendous hope among the afghan people. it is very important not to forget that war. we are still at war. the afghan people are increasingly as more intense war. there are many indicators it will become more intense in 2016. i was enormously pleased to hear comments on president obama's top-down foreign-policy priorities to include afghanistan. the priorities are many but russia was mentioned among them , so focusing and highlighting afghanistan and resurrecting some very serious international and u.s. thinking about where the country is heading is very important. thank you all very much for coming. inn i was in afghanistan
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september and october, i was asking the afghan people what makes you happy? what makes you happiest? the good story? one of the answers i got frequently was we still have our humor. this perhaps indicates the resilience of the afghan people. but even that humor is increasingly challenged. one of the most distressing aspects of 2015 is the tremendous brain drain. we often said that the solution problem is that the young people will act different. we will hear more about the aspect that hope is challenged or not. after all, afghan refugees were among the fifth-largest group of refugees coming to europe, at least 70,000 of them.
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many precisely, the young people that were to be the hope of the country. 2015 was a very difficult year along every single dimension, secular and political. 2016 has kicked off in it -- in a difficult way. half, wepast day and a have seen news of the attack on the indian consulate. the battle is still ongoing. what is significant about that is it is clearly designed to derail and and any hope of -- and any hope of resurrecting ,eace talks with the taliban and regional peace talks involving pakistan, china, afghanistan can do --, and other actors. i am personally very hopeful that the talks will get off the ground soon. nonetheless it is significant that the talks being on again,
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there are people trying to undermine it. one of theore restaurants was attacked although the number of , casualties was not particularly high, the attack is significant. it is yet another move by the taliban to isolate the international community from the afghan people. to eliminate public and private spaces in which the exchange of deeper understanding and mutual commitment to be resurrected. more and more the only access and communication of official government buildings is another limitation. there are a few restaurants left in kabul, very few. the fact that they are increasingly being hit is clearly focused on the psychological dimension of the
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war. perhaps we will hear from jason about that. and some suicide bomber near the kabul airport, of course no casualties but nonetheless, 2016 is off with a bang and not a good one. what happened broadly last year? the official assessment is that the taliban has an influence in at least one area of the country, that number might be an understatement. the casualties of the afghan security forces have gone up significantly, at least 26% in 2014, 2 7000 dead and 1200 -- 12,000 injured. and prior to it in 2013, the level of casualties was not sustainable. we are seeing that the recruitment keeps outpacing the attrition, whether it is from casualties or from soldiers and
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policemen going awol. one reason that is happening is because the economy is in a critical situation. the only employment available for many is participating in the security forces. that dynamic has its limitation. at some point a family will to poore that losing logistics, continuing inadequate air support, a big loss and drop in intelligent capacity, risking it is not worth it. andng to get out to europe neighboring countries might be a better solution. so while the attrition rate is still accounted for by recruitment it is still bad and needs to be addressed. the good news is the taliban's plan was months in the making.
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it is not simply when it went down in late september, early october. there was months preview of the challenges that the province had. there were years of political buildup. i focus on kunduz because it is significant. it is really very much about the political dysfunction that characterizes the country. the exclusionary politics, ethnic and tribal competition often resulting in abuse. kunduz was the snake pit of afghanistan's politics. it's not surprising that the taliban would've been so successful in the province. they have only had the provincial capital for two weeks but they did not expect to hold , a provincial capital. they were actually surprised by how well they did. one of the reasons that's compounded the difficulties of the government was the proliferation of the afghan local police, the officially
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sanctioned militia, and other militias that have been involved in power abuse and problematic exclusionary politics in the province. interestingly enough, the taliban for months was able to create its own version of the afghan local police in kunduz and was a key factor for both , why they go to the city and also a key factor in how abusive the taliban behavior was despite the orders, precisely because, the government cannot control the other militias and neither can the taliban. we are seeing a big proliferation of malitias in response to isis. i want to express my appreciation of the u.s. government, u.s. military determination not to expand the alp despite pressure from the
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afghan government to double in size and perhaps bigger. it would have been a political patronage and -- patronage appeasement of powerbrokers that challenge the government. the taliban has been steadily pounded. the situation is hardly good despite the fact that there are , at least 18,000 afghan soldiers and policemen stationed. in 2016 we can expect the kandahar will come under significant pressure. already in the taliban was 2015 making a lot of maneuvers around the province preparing for a push on kandahar. let us not ever think it is easy for the taliban either. the movement is facing great internal challenges like it has over the past decade and arguably longer.
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the transition has not been smooth. sexualizationd in sectionalization of the groups. it has come with many costs. one has just come out against him. the transition is challenging. in fact, the rise of isis in afghanistan and places like couple -- kabul and iraq has caused damage. the disgruntled taliban leaders defecting are lower as a result of isis. the politics involved with the government, local government officials and all the powerbrokers and the taliban, perhaps we can get into it in the q and a.
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i want to focus my last section on speaking on the politics, which i will say i really at the core of afghanistan's troubles. the taliban will continue pushing, but the country will not heal itself if it cannot get beyond fractured political infighting, all focused on personal power grabs and focus on governance. indeed, the year was one of plotting, efforts to undermine this dysfunctional, and nonfunctional so-called government of national unity. fight, notof the simply between the two leading men, but crucially with powerbrokers on the sidelines.
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unfortunately club coach unfortunately -- instead of what there is being used to focus on governance, to make some push in improving the efficiency in the military, make some push and cleaning up the bad criminality in politics, the government is instead staying with political infighting and infighting with other powerbrokers. the president announced in 2016 the parliamentary and district elections delayed for over a year will take ice -- place. we will see. perhaps though but they will be , contested, and once again consume much political energy. perhaps even more problematically, 2016 is supposed to be the year where something takes place to adjudicate major constitutional
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reform involving the relationship between the ceo and president as well as electoral reform. perhaps according to some such as ceo abdullah abdullah. moving the country to a parliamentarian system. it will be very contested and challenged and is already being manipulated by important powerbrokers including former president hamid karzai. i think what we can see in 2016 is continuing economic dire situations and outflows of people, major taliban pushes, and the political system stacked in infighting. basic survival and power grabs instead of focusing on the crucial inescapable national interest and government in the country. that leaves the international community in a very difficult situation. clearly, we want to help
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afghanistan. the united states should continue assisting militarily and politically. but we also need to demand far greater accountability and , far greater focus on governing the country instead of tearing it to pieces. michael: thank you great , framing. now i will turn it to the director of policy and advocacy at mercy corps. >> happy new year. vanda, thank you so much for brookings for this event. is a global development organization, we operate in 40 countries, we've been in afghanistan since 1986 so for over 30 years now. we are helping them to improve their lives through a wide range of agricultural and development programs. over the last two years we've reached 2.5 million afghans, trying to help them improve their livelihoods including through food security.
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we work in the north, east, and south of afghanistan including , in kandahar and kunduz. we use what is caused a -- use what is called a community acceptance model of security and community mobilization implementation approach, which is development speak -- speech. we were close with communities to make sure we're hearing their needs and working on a project they think will improve their lives. we are also working with communities to help ensure we are able to be safe and work in rather difficult and challenging environments. i agree a lot with vanda's assessment on the security front and it is weighing on the minds , and hearts of afghan's economy. to put more focus on that has taken a downward turn over the years in afghanistan. jobs have decreased and unemployment has increased
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significantly. it is increasing the drive for afghans to make a difficult decision to decide if they want to stay or travel to europe or other locations. some of this is stemming from the levels of afghans living below the poverty line and the thoughts and feelings that the economy isn't getting better with security being so difficult. the investment climate is pretty difficult in afghanistan right now. we are seeing a mass, another wave of human migration of afghans. until 2014, afghans were the largest global refugee population at 2.6 million people. the syrian refugee crisis has now put syria and the lead in the world but that is still 10% , of afghanistan's population. there are about 50,000 afghan
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refugees in europe last year which i think is close to the , second or third number of displaced people that have moved to europe from other countries. one of the things we would like to focus on is that it's not just refugees or people on the , doors of europe that are part of the problem. one of our afghan staff made a poignant point, that rich people can move to europe, which we don't think of refugees as being wealthy. most of the ones going to europe are not, but relative to those in afghanistan and have become internally displaced, the situation in afghanistan is very difficult. you have some of the highest unemployment rates, children are not schooled when they have been displaced and have to move one area to another. we are looking at about one in 30 afghans are now internally displaced, or 940,000 people. it is a country prone to natural
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disasters. so we will see spikes in those conflicts related displacements, as well as a natural to -- when a natural disaster hits, people are forced to flee to other parts of the country. -- we have a this vocational and training program in kandahar. we are seeing what is supposed to help refugees from pakistan who are returning to afghanistan, help them get on their feet. but we are seeing more need and more idp's nothing on the door saying we need jobs and we are also seeing more applicants havehese positions that higher literacy levels than average. literacy is not very high in the first place, but it speaks to the situation of the economy when you have folks who have gotten levels of education are coming back and try to get vocational training, and secure job in this increasing pressure
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cooker that afghans are feeling where there are less job opportunities. they do not see a hope for a lot of opportunity. while we see this massive flow of afghans both externally and internally, it sounds like a humanitarian crisis and that is , what's on the front page of the newspapers. it is screaming about humanitarian crisis. but we as ngos on the ground and others agree with his we are with, we are looking at a long-term development crisis. one of the reasons people are leaving is that they don't see possibilities within their communities. specifically with idp's we see a peoplerural displaced moving to urban centers which is something we will see over the next decade in afghanistan. it is a shift to urbanization including large pockets of poverty within urban centers where we have folks fleeing from the countryside trying to make a living and make a wage within cities.
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we would argue and push for both in afghanistan and other capitals around the world for more sustainable solutions for all of afghans because you need to increase the level of development. but also specifically for displaced afghanistan. and we need to put more attention, not less, on the systemic problems which are -- which is making afghanistan and unattractive place to live -- and unattractive place to live, and grow up and work. some of the underlying issues even if we have it fixed 100% tomorrow, knock on wood, god willing, if security was fixed we would still face , developmental challenges that need to be addressed for afghans to be able to have development, and further prosperity. that would be addressing, the depletion of natural resources, afghanistan is increasing. land erosion it's making it hard
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, for people to stay on their farms and feed their families. i would recommend for folks interested in this and these issues, putting forth to the paris climate talks, a summary of what the different challenges are in afghanistan and the long terms. -- in the long-term. for example looking at the , droughts and how do we start doing sustainable development in some of the more agricultural areas of the country. addressing the depletion of the natural resource base and recognizing that the afghan population will double by 2030. we have high unemployment, and need to think about creative ways to get jobs and do with the -- deal with the food insecurity that will increase with the growing number of afghans. lastly, something if you talk to your average afghan that will come up in conversation is the frustration and annoyance with chronic energy problems. it hamstrings economic development, and makes life more difficult on a daily basis. it is something like depending on if you are in rural or urban areas, but rural areas have some
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of the worst saturation of electricity in the world. it makes it hard to study if your child at night trying to go to school. something mercy corps and other ngos are looking at is how to address underlying issues and how to support afghans in their goal and quest to try and improve their country and , develop further. we spend a lot of time working on technical and vocational training. we have a program that trained over 22,000 men and women that are now working in kandahar in a similar program. it is something important because i know we will get a question about why are we throwing money at afghanistan, it is a black hole of money. but if we do development right, if we get this right, and go back to basically development best practices, and working with communities and not just throwing money at a problem but looking at sustainability, but -- what that basically means is you can charge a little bit for people participating in technical and vocational training.
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a a little bit of your dues to try to keep these technical past whenenters open donor dollars in there. you want to work with the government ministry and make sure. one thing we would advocate strongly for is we need to take a market-based approach. don't just train someone and handicraft or weaving, it is -- what is the market need? do a survey. example, are there enough cell phone repair people. i would fix that? do we train people in motorcycle repair and 70's. there is a gap in employment in these areas. we train to fill that gap. looking at that market based assessment is important. what this means then for real afghans and people working and
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benefiting from these programs is, we had one female beneficiary who came from about fouristan years ago. she is now supporting her family. she is married -- bringing in more money than her husband, which is kind of exciting. she does not want to turn back to where she was fred she has been resettled. you can do that through smart economic activities. in the energy sector, there is marginal access to electricity in the rural areas. mercy corps encourages others to pay attention to the energy. it's intertwined. there is a lot of talk about pipelines and things along those lines that are developing broader grid systems in afghanistan. we are pleased that the afghan government in adopted a november renewable energy policy
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which calls for by 2032 95% of energy to come from renewable sources. that's an exciting policy environment. that will create more job opportunities and help get people plugged up to electricity. we have started working with boston university. we selected through a competitive process. we partnered with them. with -- it's a solar pv system. while the price of gas is low here, it's expensive if you're only making four dollars a day. savings avoided from having to spend money on diesel fuel, the university will pay back the costs are mercy corps so we can go in and do similar projects and create a virtuous loop and cycle and investment in while -- of investment. while the investment opportunity
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afghanistan may not be on the top of your wall street banker, there is some openness and could be some interesting opportunities for social impact investing. that will help increase the livelihoods and development goals for afghans. again, i am sure we'll get it -- a question on why throw good money on it? but after having been there for several decades, we have recognized with the dumping of billions of dollars into development programs, there have a lot of mistakes. one thing our team has looked at and seen over the last few years is people need to get their roles straight. there is a role for the private sector, a role for the government, and a role for ngos to help the most vulnerable. help those suffering from ptsd. we talk a lot about syrians and the no laws generation.
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afghans have been at war now for decades. that is a pretty serious toll on people's psyches. how can we support that? how do we build the capacity of other service providers to make sure we have a sustainable transition. so 10 years from now, we will not be talking about this, but we will see more strides he made -- being made, and not have afghans make the difficult choice to decide if they should migrate. it can be a dangerous trip. thank you. .ichael: thank you we'll join you in thinking your colleagues and all of the people that work for mercy course -- mercy corps. jason cohen is going to speak next. he is the director of doctors without borders and the united -- in the united states are in
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-- in the united states. jason: we worked in 70 countries worldwide. we are an international humanitarian organization. we have been in afghanistan starting in 1980. we had some members assassinated and we left the country. we returned in 2009. as many of you know, one of our --uma hospitals into deuce in kunduz province was bombed by u.s. forces on october 3. that led to the death of 42 of our staff and patients. at the time we shared cordon it's with u.s. nato and afghan forces. we also worked in that hospital for years, it was a well-known structure. general campbell after the investigation acknowledged that we were on the no strike list it -- in the u.s. military system.
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this panel comes at a time when we are obviously incredibly concerned about the deteriorating security situation which we have talked a lot about. we continue to operate hospitals. those facilities treat 26,000 -- 16,000 people a month. and about 2000e deliveries of newborns. as we heard from vanda, the security deteriorated quite significantly. we treated over 100 wounded in the facility. the situation remains to be difficult. we have teams working in a hospital there as well. what we have seen and what has been outlined clearly is this growing deterioration over the last two years in terms of security in many of the
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contested areas. this increased conflict has only heightened the lack of public services, in particular health services to rural areas, particularly those in those contested areas i was just talking about. in 2014, the drawdown had begun, we had issued and access to health care survey. being in touch with my teens, the figures from the surveys remain relevant today. if the situation is not worse. the survey revealed that one in five patients we interviewed had a family member or close friend who had died due to a lack of access to health care. people are unable to reach health care and dying. for those who reached our hospitals in the locations i mentioned, 40% of those patients based real challenges in terms of fighting, landmines, being
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harassed on their journey to reach the hospital. -- our testimonies also exposed a wide gap between health care -- the services that exist on paper and those that , exist in the area where they were. some of those findings of been reinforced by the un's secretary-general. they found hospitals that have been developed over the years for which the gps coordinates did not match anywhere in some of them weren't even in afghanistan. one of the three main barriers we have found that resulted in the death of some of these patients were really lack of money, the high cost to get access to the private and public health structures. the long distances that people had to travel, and the impact of the armed conflict in the country. a lot of people bypass their
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closest facility. during a recent illness they , really did not have the confidence that they have the supplies needed. those who manage to reach a health facility, various obstacles had to be overcome. the main obstacle was related to the conflict. this illustrates, and we can see this again in places like kunduz where the situation has deteriorated even more. with the bombing of our facility, there is no axis. they will have to go someplace further away. about 300,000 people lost access to health care. it remains to be seen what happens in the coming weeks with the intense fighting. we know a lot of areas have been taken over by armed opposition groups.
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we know how difficult it can be to provide health services in those areas. as i alluded to, cost is a huge barrier for patients. and -- in five people have been forced to sell goods to afford health-care. that is about 44% of the patients. overall funding, quality of care has been quite challenging. that has been reinforced by other studies as well. we are in a situation here, particularly the last couple of months where there are chronic issues from an economic standpoint. violence, and armed troops, it is not just the taliban that other groups. there has been heavy fighting between government and it isational forces or if all the more important that he
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provide the impartial assistance and respect the basic rules of world -- war. there have been challenges in respect of blending humanitarian aid and development programs since the real intervention started after 2011. this sort of blending of efforts that are meant to stabilize the country, so to speak, and support the afghan government comes at a cost of providing assistance to people in areas that are not provided by the government. the services are not trusted. we have alluded to with the bombing of our hospital that we about theus concerns use of force by coalition forces in afghanistan. for that matter coalition operating places like him and in syria as well -- yemen and syria as well. in terms of what decisions are
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being followed to distinguish between civilian and military targets. there is an expanded footprint in many places, both in afghanistan and elsewhere. there will be questions and challenges for humanitarian organizations operating in areas that are frontlines. including the rules of engagement that are called into those areas. particularly when they call in airstrikes. in other areasrn where the fighting intensifies around the city. it's critical. -- we have said this a lot since the bombing. treating the wounded is not providing material support to the enemy. this is a responsibility under the law of war. it must be respected by all parties. this is from the 101 geneva convention. under international law, medical facilities are a protected
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status, as long as they exclusively care for the sick and wounded. that is something we enforce, around the world. it makes it really incumbent on health care workers to make sure they treat everyone based on the -- need, not because of their political or religious affiliation. the security conditions in many parts of the country -- that underscores the need for humanitarian organizations to get back to basics. reinforcing access to care. it will be very important in the coming year, if not years. this is not only important for their security on the ground, i know it is incredibly important for our teams -- security on the ground. it is also important to provide care across front lines. not only government controlled areas, but other parts of the
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country. it is important that we see in we confrontr, that the conflict across the front lines. >> thank you very much. i am going to turn things over to you now. we have had this terrible tragedy. general campbell has taken responsibility. clearly there is an ongoing investigation. we also have a situation where u.s. and nato personnel have been trying more than any war in history to be careful. there is a famous special operations warrior and people questions whether he had put too many restrictions on the use of force by nato personnel. not obviously in the context of
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a hospital, but in the context of when they could fire at a location where taliban forces suspected.liban were >> good morning. i have to think jason. -- thank jason. otherwise the purpose of people -- pointless. i am a fellow here, i am not representing anyone from the department of defense. these thoughts are mine. i have had free license to think intellectually which is a bit of a misnomer because i am a marine . with respect to some of these issues, afghanistan represents a lot of different challenges. particularly from a military perspective it's not unlike a lot of other areas. the challenge of the ungoverned
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spaces makes it very difficult to apply the laws of our -- armed conflict. when you have challenges that don't get the conventional state on state actor type of scenario we've had through history. duzcases like the kun straight, it is unfortunate our . thoughts and prayers go out to those who are victims. i can also say it was almost unequivocally not intentional. -- being aning apologist for what happened -- the u.s. armed forces, one of the things we consider is the collateral damage. again, not being an apologist, i can also tell you that when people refer to the fog of war, i will say the fog of chaos, when things are ill-defined it's very difficult to decide and act in a manner that is going to have such finality.
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as an example, when i was in afghanistan -- my information is dated, i was there in 2010. i had dual responsibilities. the one strike that i disputed -- participated in in 2010 took about 2.5 hours. for people who think some of these things happen without thought or preparation, i will tell you that your mistaken or misguided. there is more information out there. in this case, it was looking for one individual. the information that was coming in was from a variety of different sources you have to decide which information is correct and accurate. i won't go into kunduz. i do not know enough other than what i have read on the internet . i will say that general campbell has spoken directly and said that it was a mistake and there were errors human and mechanical. again, it goes back to when you rely on human beings to make decisions like this, we are
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depending on who you talk to, we organization. we don't thrive well in chaos. when there is a lack of clarity, as to what is happening it's , difficult to make the right decision sometimes. the situation in afghanistan i , am ambivalent. not to be cruel or callous, i don't know what to expect. the question was asked earlier do i feel good about , afghanistan? i don't feel either. it's a chaotic situation. there has to be some sort of order that will come out of that chaos. there has to be a buy-in from afghanistan. in situations of the afghan national police and security forces responsible for providing security, you have to question how much buy-in the afghan people will have.
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if they don't feel safe they , will not buy into these things. they will take the services at face value. it is here today, it could be gone tomorrow. this does not provide them any impetus to provide information. someone who is there under mysterious circumstances is in their midst. you find things that happened where you have a bad strike. that information is just not known. hopefully -- i demonstrated with the one strike i participated then come up -- in, all of the fact. one of the things i feel as incumbent upon any military organization, when they go into a space, is to find out who is there and do the work. until i was an officer i knew very little about nongovernmental associations. my job was to learn how to fly an aircraft in flight well. -- and flight well.
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it well. i started to learn about the vitality and the presence of some of these organizations and what they represent you one of the things i will close with is everybody needs to remember that in ungoverned space, civilian security is the first thing you need to think about. that is not always a military solution it's not the responsibility of nongovernmental organizations to do so. it is the responsibility of the people in the place and what they desire in the future. before i get into the rambling aspects, i will ask a question back to the criticisms -- participants. when you go into an ungoverned space like that, how often do you coordinate with those who provide security so you can hopefully avoid incidences like the strike, or times where mercy corps is not able to go because it is not safe. is there an active dialogue with
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some of those who provided services? michael: thank you. i will give each of you a chance to respond to his very interesting and provocative question. and anything else you heard. let's give everyone to a chance -- everyone a chance. maybe i will start with anna. and it: thank you -- anna: thank you. i would like to stress with the current -- concerns we have in operating in ungoverned spaces is any perception that we are working with the military or security forces. that can put us at risk. we have to be very careful about any open dialogue. i was with usaid in africa. -- in afghanistan for 2001 -- 2011-2012, we would not -- we always pushed back on the
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military and said, you cannot roll up to the school and put the school at risk. there is a set of guidelines. they are called guidelines for engagement between security forces and nongovernmental organizations. they were blessed by the state an organization that and out, instead of calling showing up at a military base, working through a chain of command so that i am not colluding with security forces. that puts my staff at risk. that set of guidelines has been something that we lean heavily on. it is from 2006 or 2008 it took a long time to put together. it is an invaluable pamphlet to make sure that we are not further put at risk by looking like we are helping the military.
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jason: half of our programs are in active conflict zones. a big part of our responsibility is to explain why we are there. when the fighting restarted in kunduz, we re-shared coordinates of our facilities. we reiterated that we were remaining an active civilian hospital in those situations. the challenge is the are seen more and more coalition forces with the multiplicity of different forces. sometimes nonstate actors or state actors with different chains of command, and different planes flying different places. we see this in yemen and syria. of our facilities were bombed since october there. it is a huge concern of
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this so-called ungoverned space of how to retain the safety of humanitarian organizations on the front line. the majority of our staff are afghans in they are taking incredible risks to do this work. they lost their lives. they continue to work on the front lines. mercy corps have people still in kunduz today. it is the constant challenge of security and management of the risk. i would say, you joke about being a marine, but we engage a lot with u.s. sources a different academies. we would probably like to do more of that to have this debate -- those debates. there are strong ethical debates about the use of force in the context of the current wars today. that is a real question we have about what rules are being
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applied. they pertain to forces around the world. are those forces being adhered to? for medicalant facilities to know those rules still apply. one of the challenges we face as much as general campbell has been very aggressive in the investigation of this incident is that today, and probably before we know otherwise, we don't know what has been changed. that leaves us with a lot of questions. but also the desire for direct dialogue to have those discussions. they are essential, not just in afghanistan, but everywhere else that humanitarian organizations are operating. michael: thank you. >> a couple of things that came out of that. for those of you familiar with genital -- general to try us --
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ues.trails -- petra have -- i have contemporaries that have been mayors of cities. i'm not a city government type person. what that leaves me to say is one of the things you mentioned is, you tried very hard not to give the appearance of colluding with security forces. first off, security is not always military. secondly, by virtue of necessity, it might be anyone with the intention of helping someplace like afghanistan has to start to learn to become pentathlete. there is a need for people to understand that stability and security is not someone else's responsibility. the only thing i would leave you with in that regard the bessociation may not always
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-- whoever you are trying to is you need reality that security and stability that could be provided. it might be the organizations need to branch out. michael: we have a lot on the table. i am looking to your thoughts. i would like to request for you to wait for me to call on you. identify yourself ask just one question. if you wish, you can target it towards one of the panelists. that would be helpful where possible, but not essential. i will begin with two questions at a time. the tillman here and rose three and four.- three >> i have been looking -- working in afghanistan for the last seven years. i want to pick up on the point about by an -- buy in.
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one of the things you see the press is the failure of gas -- afghans to buy in. i have been working with the minister of higher education in higher education has been transformed in the last five years. that is because people have bought into making changes to hire education and have put their lives on the line in the process of doing that. they've gone about their duty and 30 years of war -- in 30 years of war. 40% of students are suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder or other mental health problems. it is transformed. i think it's important and you understand their are a lot of afghans every day putting their lives on the line to make system -- the system better. although the problems of
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corruption and chaos are tremendous, on the other hand, none of the kinds of improvements have happened -- from moving from higher education where was the old boys network on who got hired and promoted to a system in which it is now based on how good you are. similarly credit station has been put in place. these are the things that don't make the press because they are not exciting. they have been phenomenal transformations in afghanistan. >> not a question, but still a worthy comment. >> happy new year, i am the president of the national coalition for afghanistan. i am an african american. , i would firstu like to pay my condolences to
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the 2000 plus lives lost. from my heart and from the heart of my tribe, i would like to extend that sympathy to you and to the government. you always put stability and then security. in afghanistan, is reversed. security then stability. the question our people ask, and they are very concerned about, is what happened to the friendship between afghanistan and the united states of america. why did the united states of america, after pushing the government to sign the agreement, is not doing anything to protect afghanistan against outside invasion of the country. afghanistan is not at war with pakistan. it is not at war with iran. afghanistan is not at war with anybody. there is a war, a battle being fought by foreign forces, by foreign individuals, foreign terrorists in afghanistan using
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afghanistan as a battlefield. this is what is driving the people out of afghanistan. i want to thank you for your sacrifices. i work with the people. every single tribe in afghanistan. my grandfather ruled, 36 wives, 62 children. i am related to every tribe when , i say this, my question is why is the united states not doing more to stop pakistan from interfering? michael: i will take one more question. this gentleman here in the front. >> thank you. my name is peter. as i listen to everyone's comments, i keep thinking to myself, what you're saying, about afghanistan in terms of political corruption, a dysfunctional government, economic underdevelopment, lack of security, lack of local buy in, you could he saying the same thing about iraq.
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my question is, what does that tell us, the united states, about the very limited capacity of an outside government to affect meaningful change in these societies? thank you. >> do you want to begin with the pakistan question if you wish and then we could go to others for the second question? >> i would like to respond to the second one on the comparison of afghanistan and iraq. i think there are meaningful differences. it is one of the reasons the united states should persevere. i was pleased by the german decision to increase the number of troops. nonetheless, both countries highlighted precisely the difficulties of changing governments and political mindsets.
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also, the questions of pakistan, afghanistan's favorite excuse for all the country's problems is pakistan. there is no doubt pakistan continues to support the taliban. much of the reason why the different groups, including the taliban, has so much traction, is because of misgovernment by politicians. the united states, and more broadly, it has been very ineffective demanding a prime example of a country has not been able to focus not just the government, but the outside, focus, and the political inciting has gone on. that involves making tough
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decisions of cutting some aid that will be meaningful. we often talk about political processes. the red lines are violated over and over and they say, ok, next time we really mean it. it is time now, for the good of the afghan people. the reason afghanistan and iraq are different, as was said in the beginning, the afghan army is much more of police than iraq. both countries suffered from fictionalizing problems. politics in offices in the province that have gone on for a number of years prior to the fall of the year. there is more a sense of
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cohesion and buy-in and we need to appreciate that and help the afghan military and the people to maintain their wherewithal. with respect to pakistan, pakistan has been the most difficult foreign policy for the united states. the government has gone through many efforts to cudgel, persuade, appease, pressure pakistan into behaving differently in afghanistan. it has failed to do so because of afghanistan continuing to be different from ours because of their expectations. but because of also pakistan's ability. we need to continue working with pakistan both because of our added interests in afghanistan but also crucially because of
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afghanistan. we will not be able to radically alter pakistan's behavior. we need to accept that and afghanistan needs to accept that. i think their president did accept it and is courageous putting on the table tremendous amounts of political capital. much of it was burned in ashes by the continuing attacks. in reaching out to pakistan. at the end of the day, knowing pakistan will continue to be difficult, the more than cold war between iran and saudi arabia will continue, impacting afghanistan more and more. afghanistan's politicians need
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to focus on governance, and not look abroad as an excuse for all of their problems. >> the first thing i would say is probably, i have been educated in various places and one thing they talk about is the power of analogies. they are bad because you can take an analogy and make it work however you want. no two places are the same. to compare iraq and afghanistan, it is a difficult correlation. i cannot speak to policy. i am not a policymaker. however, as vanda was pointing at, one of the issues i see is you have to have a cohesive effort of governance in order to make a stand against something like infiltration in that manner. you mentioned you represent a number of different tribes. a number of different tribes have different interests. >> i don't agree. [indiscernible] che: i didn't say there is a problem between the tribes.
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>. >> afghanistan has been in existence for 5000 years. >> i will end this because for one thing, there is no microphone to pick up your erudite thought. the audience at home will be frustrated. i want to have time for a few more rounds. anyone have a comparison? i know you operate in a number of areas. >> i know we have problems of lack of assistance in iraq, particularly in areas affected by the fighting in the islamic state controlled areas. in terms of lack of assistance where it is a parallel there. i would not compare the political situations. >> we are actually putting together a study tomorrow on research we have done inside iraq. it looks at the importance of civil society and improving
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iraqi's feelings of working with the government. it is important to look at in our investments in civil society and iraq have gone down dramatically. there is a need to keep supporting civil society in afghanistan and iraq. in afghanistan, we put out a report in february that looked at what was driving these two to violence. one of the biggest findings we found was a lot of it was governance grievances. is the government responding to the needs of what i as a youth feel is important? focusing on those things makes sense for the government to be looking at, paying more attention to displaced youth, around afghanistan. not exactly parallel but research we have done, heavy quantitative and qualitative research of what government
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should be looking at and a lot of times, it does relate back to gaps in government. >> i will begin further back to make sure i do not overlook folks. i see a hand about two rows from the very end. we will begin there and come up two rows out of that afterwards. >> thank you. my question is, what benefit do we get from pakistan? >> i think we have to be cognizant of the fact of, what is the real reason for the instability or the basic root cause for instability in afghanistan before we can really
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understand and appreciate and seek to approach a solution that would be sustainable in the future. >> i will take a crack at the first question and see who wants to respond to the second. vanda and che already did a good job so i will add to their wisdom. i will frame this in the following way. we have a different set of options we could think about developing for the next american president. our dependence on pakistan for logistics to access afghanistan is not quite what it was. i will not necessarily go quite as far as the two questioners and be quite as critical of pakistan, but i share a lot of
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your concern and i do think the next american president may be in a position to basically offer a tougher, less generous kind of relationship if we do not get more help and perhaps go for a higher standard of cooperation if we do. options like a free trade agreement could be part of the mix if pakistan were to make more of an effort to cooperate with us. there is a concern that perhaps will deflate the aspiration for a better relationship. the next president for the united states could try to frame this in different terms than we were able to in the last 15 years. the last point i will make, and in fairness to pakistan, there have at least been baby steps toward trying to put pressure on some extremist groups in the western part of their own country. in many cases, it is for reasons that have nothing to do with afghanistan, that have not made any improvement in afghanistan. some of the groups have moved beyond the border and there is still active collaboration and communication with their network between pakistan's government and that network in particular. overall, i think the questioners
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have a valid concern and i would suggest the next american president can think about the relationship in maybe fundamentally different terms. that is my take and others may want to chime in on either question. vanda: i will add more comments on pakistan. from the national interest assessment, pakistan is a far more important country. pakistan is a country with nuclear weapons. pakistan and india is a space where nuclear war could break out more than anywhere else. pakistan is a fragile country, chronically challenged by chronic misgovernance,
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corruption, and, importantly, extremist groups that various governance fostered for a long time. the united states cannot afford to push pakistan to the brink. pakistan is cognizant of that and has played politics with respect to afghanistan of, you push us to the brink, we will collapse and it will be awful for you. they are absolutely right. it would be awful for everyone. pakistan has great power, making the united states yield too quickly at times. even though the logistics issues of access to afghanistan will be less acute, perhaps eventually in the future, the broader issue of who is strategically more important, what is the fundamental significance of
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pakistan, it is significant. that pakistan will not go away. this is the reality afghanistan needs to work with. there will be limits to how much pakistan will alter its behavior and how much it will be controlled. afghans need to look at themselves and ask themselves, we are living in a difficult neighborhood with many problematic neighbors. none more problematic than pakistan. what can we do for ourselves? how can we engage the international community as
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opposed to under iraq. jason: che, any comments? >> hi. i have a question. it is about to get worse because of the iran, saudi conflict. that will mean more displaced people and more people in need. how do we protect the humanitarian space and how can the u.s. set an example because they are at the forefront of all of these conflicts militarily. they in a sense have to uphold the moral standard because we have seen when saudi bomb tiananmen, and the russians in syria, they have not been careful about avoiding hospitals. how do we protect keeping assets safe and secure? >> over here. >> time and time again over the last decade and a half, we have seen a lot of the u.s. and coalition's efforts to partner with communities and partner
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militarily with a lot of local communities rebuffed, because of afghan and the nature of rejecting a lot of foreign intervention and foreign partnerships. i wanted to know how that has transformed recently and what the u.s. is doing to try to partner with groups, effectively and whether that still continues to be a limiting factor as well as military partnership. >> why don't we start with ann and work down. ann: first, the u.s. setting by example, as jason was saying. but something in how we go about delivering is really important. usa id right now is requiring in afghanistan something called a partner vetting system that many ngo's have serious concerns with
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because it hurts our security and so do not work with ace id right now and many other large ngo's. changing that policy to make sure we are able to operate and maintain trust, i think it is incredibly important. a good change in policy to reverse that in 2016. the vetting system requires ngo's to take the partners we work with and share the information about partners we work with with the u.s. government and we do a lot of vetting ourselves to make sure we are working with trusted partners but sharing that information with the u.s. government could make it look like we are collaborating with different parts of the u.s. government that we do not want to collaborate with.
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we said no to u.s. aid funding that required a type of vetting because we need to keep the humanitarian imperative. so we are able to access populations in good faith. jason: the u.s. has accepted responsibility for the strikes, something for which the saudi's have not really done so far. an investigation, albeit an internal investigation in not allowing international scrutiny into that investigation. that would have taken things to another level because fundamentally, when it comes to breaches of international humanitarian law, the way to investigate those should not necessarily be limited to the perpetrators of those incidents but should be held to outside scrutiny. we are in an environment in which we have no illusions about
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the dangers humanitarian workers face in the field. those affected are health workers in places like syria that have been directly targeted and it has become part of the strategy of the war effort, really since the war started in syria by the government and now we see many facilities being struck either directly, intentionally, or otherwise during the coalition bombings in syria and yemen. we have real concerns and it will require dialogue with different groups involved, also pushing back on nonstate actors to ensure they respect the sanctity and on the flip side it requires medical groups like my organization to announce when that happens. we cannot just sit quietly when our facilities potentially are turned and used for military advantage. the nature of war changes many
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people when in fact the rules are really meant to simplify the actions in areas of conflict, to ensure as much as possible that we limit the impact on civilians and those staying on the front lines to assist them. that includes wounded combatants who should be provided assistance as well. that is truly beneficial to all involved on the front line. it has been contested quite obviously in afghanistan, syria, yemen, and it remains something we think is a viable framework and is beneficial. it is important that particularly states in the u.s. government and others really enforce those principles. michael: thank you. vanda or che? vanda: it is a complex issue. but very important and very difficult in war. getting the right calibration is a major challenge not just in afghanistan and iraq, but also somalia.
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talk about disclosing who the partners are, controversial decisions. we have often partnered with problematic actors in places like afghanistan. we have embraced some of the most vicious, abusive people because they promised to kill the taliban. we make the trade-off that they kill the taliban in the short term but in the long-term, they generate a lot of opposition among the population toward their rule. sometimes, it may be effective in delivering governments and stability for a while. but often, it undermines governance and in the long-term, poor governance undermines stability. we worked with partners who
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turned out to be stealing u.s. aid, demanding we curtail as much as of the corruption, as much of the siphoning of money, very difficult to do in an opaque environment. the amount of interaction we have of local actors is insufficient and our ability to really understand the motives and actual behavior might be quite limited. you might remember the huge controversy, anything that moves in afghanistan being taxed, including nato trucks. most of the vetting for expanding was driven by u.s. political response that the taliban was making as much money
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for a while out of taxing nato as the opium poppy. it was obviously very problematic. the response should not necessarily to be demanding what paralyzes jobs that need to be done, including economic jobs. somalia is another example where the obama administration, that shabbat cannot make any money, including foreign aid. until the obama administration walks away. ngo's decided we cannot pay many more hundreds of thousands of people as a result of the policy. we need to understand we need to demand accountability from our partners, but we should not become prisoners of commanding such restrictive rules that we have no capacity to do anything anymore. che: protecting ngo's, i think places like doctors without borders, red cross, they are all established when we had civilized warfare.
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laws of war and when you have one of the combatants that do not abide by the laws of war, that requires a change on our part. in the ngo's case, they have a hard choice to make, go in unprotected or affiliate with those who will protect you. to the other piece about deciding who we will partner with, there are a couple of things we do with the department of defense. general petraeus talks about culture. that is where we are focusing money, time, and effort, educating military folks are we could always put more money against it but that is up to congress to decide. that involves multilateral exercises, formal and informal vetting. then you get assistance, what we have tried to do in iraq and
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other places. these are all things we try to empower or the special operations command has a term where they try to put the indigenous force front and center to make it their fight, their responsibility to provide security and stability in that case. those are the four lines of efforts i am familiar with. i hope that hit it. michael: i think we will have to go down our row. we only have five minutes left. the c-span is probably getting ready to cover the redskins victory parade. thanks to all of you for starting your new year on these very important topics that reflect a lot of nations and commitment from u.s. well because the war has been going on so long and we are also concerned about the well-being of the afghan people and the effects on our own security. i want to thank you for being
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here. let me please turn to each of the panelists for a minute or so and wrap up individually. ann: thanks again for putting this event on. one major takeaway is continued support and partnership with the afghan people. i think it is very needed. the afghan people are looking for a new year where we do not have to pick up and leave your homeland behind to go look for a better life. they will continue the national support for that, it would be extremely appreciated. and that we have to be doing development and look for root causes. there is so much poverty in afghanistan. there are many ways to do that. including many of the ngo's, we do not roll around with guns. we depend on our relationships with communities for security and will continue to operate that way. for the next couple of decades. thank you.
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jason: i think, as an organization that has been around, we're not naïve to the dynamics that are there and the dangers in those areas. it is important, though, that we do not set expectations based on the behavior of certain groups that do not respect the laws of war. for us, part of the dialogue is reinforcing the fact that we will treat anybody as a medical organization, this is very much recognized by the u.s. government and reiterated very strongly. when the general said they would never intentionally strike a hospital of a protected facility, that is an important statement. when the battle broke out, and the taliban took control, several commanders took the gate of the hospital. they did not enter and they allowed us to continue working. that is through a dialogue that
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happened with different armed groups that is required as -- and the committee groups. it will continue to be required. it is based on some sense of trust, albeit a very, very, with sort of, take it at face value when you are dealing with difficult violence. but it will have to be on the basis of that and we continue. in afghanistan specifically, as the situation continues to deteriorate in many parts of the country, it will require ngo's and medical workers and others theeally back from destabilization's efforts that are there and keep things separate in order to maintain tot respect and partiality workers in government zones. nda: i have today support her of efforts in afghanistan for
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many years. i think these efforts need to be improved at the smarter -- improved and be smarter. there are many crises coming in afghanistan in 2016. i think we should anticipate that, and think about how much it will rock the boat. friendsen asked by my how i can continue supporting the effort in afghanistan, significant deterioration and very little prospect that things will radically improve. it is a tough answer to give. it is the commitment we have made is not sufficient. you need to remember that we have vital interest in the country, including the rise of liberalism once again.
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is not enough to continue growing. at some point president will need to make judgment call. the afghan hope politicians and the afghan people will be able to make the to continuee call engagement. they will improve governance, they will refocus clinical infighting over spoils to actually key national interests of the afghan people. i cannot guarantee policy improvements that i can suggest that have been suggesting, that that solution will come about. we decide to call it a day in afghanistan, we will get a bad result. it: to my afghan friends, as offenses when
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i call afghanistan ungoverned space. it is what it is. when i look at the problems that are facing us in afghanistan and other places of uncovered spaces, one thing i would leave you with is there are many elements of national power, the military being just one. we rely too heavily on the ability of our military to solve these relatively contractible problems. i would urge everyone to think about organizations like doctors without borders and mercy corps, and red cross and other ngos that can do with really good things in the vein of other elements of national power. we as the military are not the first choice, and we would probably be the last choice. theael: i recognize sacrifices and contributions of these four, and the organizations they represent. as bad as things have been in afghanistan, the degree of
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managing entertaining the humanitarian travesty has been remarkable. che, i do not need to disagree with your point earlier about the origins of the red cross, but with a lot of these organizations grew up, war was far worse and was handled in a far less humane way than the u.s. marine corps, or mercy corps others have been handling recent conflicts. you look at recent numbers of casualties, they are way too high. but they are so much lower than most of the brutal wars of history. ofis because of the kind efforts that sure organizations, everybody on this panel, and many others in this room have been carrying out. i am impressed by the sacrificed. as this was partly motivated by wanted without borders to speak about losing 14 of
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their staff in a terrible tragedy, i want to reach out and salute the surprises of 70 have been working and given some enduring hope to this forlorn land. a land that is bought better off than it has been. thank you for being here today. please join me in thanking the panelists. [laughter] [applause] book tv has 48 hours of nonfiction books and authors on c-span2. here are programs to watch for. william p jones discussing his book, "the march on washington." >> discussed to the core of many people's beliefs about what government should be. people's a lot of opinions. a fox newsds, correspondent who looks at the
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life and political career of dick cheney. by the formerwed white house press secretary for the bush administration. >> no one on the right has attracted more vitriol from the left, more intense vitriol on the left, then dick cheney with the possible exception of the bed he served in the white house, or richard nixon. -- exception of the man he served in the white house, or richard nixon. i started out writing personal essays. pieceshad five published ever when i got the book deal. people really liked them. i had this delusional fantasy that since i had written a 2000 word essay that writing will hundred thousand word book would 50 2000 wording t essays, and not be that hard. [laughter]
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book tv, television for serious readers. here is a look at our programs on american history tv. next tuesday, president obama will over his last statement -- estate of the union address to a joint session of congress. we will feature four state of the union addresses by presidents of their last year of office today's jimmy carter followed by president ronald president then bush followed byll clint bill clinton. and sunday morning, on road to the right house rewired -- white house realized we look back at the debate between a democratic candidates in iowa. >> yes to the trust and confidence of the american
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people, at has to be a matter spoken in public and private. and publicmises statements for the american people should be the same. >> for our full weekend, go to c-span.org. republican presidential candidate ohio governor john kasich holds a town hall meeting in exeter, new hampshire. he discusses balancing the budget and new hampshire security. the new hampshire primary is scheduled for the 9th. this is about one hour 20 minutes.
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>> good evening, everybody. tonight, it's my pleasure to introduce governor john kasich and welcome you all to our town hall meeting. i'd like to invite you all to stand and join me in the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under god, indivisible, with leadership and justice for all. i should also begin by both embarrassing and welcoming my wife and daughter to the town hall meeting. i do that because if i don't, my mother will find out about it and she won't talk to me. i first got to know john kasich in 1996 when i was elected to congress representing exeter in the first district in new hampshire. i was assigned to the budget committee and he was the
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chairman. from the first day i met him, i knew this was the kind of leader that i wanted to emulate. he was tough. he was conservative. he was absolutely determined to balance the budget. he was unconventional, no question about it, but he was able to get people to do things they didn't think they themselves could do. he believed in the importance of leaving something better for our children and grandchildren than what we found, and that's what led him to lead the drive to balance the budget for the first time in a generation in 1997.
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we cut taxes. we balanced that budget. we reformed entitlements. we left no stone unturned, and there wasn't a single special interest to say anything about it. he did it, led the effort because he knew it was the right thing for the country and, of course, the people of ohio that he represented. he was a television star on fox, as he'll tell you. big. [laughter] and then he knew he had more work to do. he went back to ohio, ran for governor, and as governor in ohio, he has done the same thing, provided the government leadership that provided results. it's about not talking. it's about doing the things for people you're representing. he balanced the budget and restored 350,000 new jobs in ohio. they have reformed entitlements. they have made their healthcare system work better. they have privatized services when it makes sense, and have given power back to the local governments. that's the kind of leadership i have always respected in my public service life, and i think that's the kind of leadership that we need in america today.
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someone who not just makes a good speech, not just has good ideas, but knows how to get things done, knows how to turn ideas into results. that's the kind of president i want, and i believe that's the kind of president john kasich will be. ladies and gentlemen, john kasich. [applause] gov. kasich: is this the most bizarre place you could ever imagine? it's friday night and you're all gathered like this. what is wrong with you people, huh? and we're not passing out canned hams tonight. we're all out, and we passed out the cake for our 50th town hall meeting, but we'll have a surprise the next time. anyway, thank you all for coming. how about a round of applause for john sununu and his service. [applause] and, of course, we have the
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great gordon humphrey here, a blast from the past. where's gordon? stick your head in here. [applause] i want to really --seriously, i want to thank you for coming, and i'm going to try to be short here and take some questions and i'll try to answer those short, and if both of those things happen, there will be miracles occurring here in this place. i just want to tell you a little bit about myself because john did a beautiful job talking about the need to look at problems and fix them, without regard to get people upset. you can't operate that way. so why do i do things that way? and i want you to understand. my father was a mailman. he carried mail on his back, and his father was a coal miner, and
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my grandfather died of black lung, and he was losing his eyesight as he got older. tough family. most of them never graduated from high school. one of my uncles fought at iwojima. and it's a remarkable story of america. my mother, her mother lived with us. she could barely speak english. she was an immigrant from yugoslavia, and my mother was a lady that always said, "johnny, tell it like it is and always make sure the place where you were is a little better off because of the fact you were there." i like it say she was a pioneer in talk radio. when the radio was broadcast, she would yell at the radio, and kenny, i don't know if you heard this story, but when they started to call in on radio, my mother and i would listen. i learned a lot from my mom, and we had two phones in our house. we had one in the kitchen and
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one upstairs in the bedroom. some of you will relate to this. when we made long distance calls, we had to time ourselves. remember those days? the young kids don't. they time themselves as to how long they're not on the phone, but --so one time, my mother heard this incredible argument going on, and she wanted me to hear it. it was an amazing debate, so i wasn't in the kitchen. she went room-to-room and she finally burst into her bedroom, and i was the person on the phone. [laughter] arguing with the announcer. [laughter] that's called foreshadowing, kitty. anyway, the town i grew up in was all blue collar. people worked in steel mills. my uncles, some of them worked in steel mills. when the time came for them to retire, they'd just close the mill down. sound familiar? and so a lot of people in the country feel --and i think always have felt, to a degree, that if you're powerful, if you are special interest, if you're rich, you get what you want and everybody else kind of gets what's left over.
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you see, i've been elected since i was very young. nobody in my family could ever figure it out and, frankly, i've been blessed and given a lot of opportunities. in my mind's eye, i come from there. i fight for people who usually don't have anybody to fight for them. we didn't get tickets --i grew up in pittsburgh. we didn't get tickets for the steelers game. they were too hard to get. didn't even think about it. baseball game, my dad and i would go on labor day. you know why we would go on labor day? it costs, but how many games do they have on labor day? two. we'd sit in the right field bleachers and the box seats, never dreamt about it. so i never want to tear anybody down, but i've also felt that people who play by the rules, god-fearing, you know, common sense need to have a voice. so i got into politics for one
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basic reason, to lift everybody, give everybody a voice and everybody a chance. a lot of people run away from their records. i want you to study my records, because it's a record of accomplishment, a record of putting teams together. nobody ever does anything great by themselves. you have to do things in a team, and i've been fortunate enough to have enough people come around to be part of something for all of us that's bigger than ourselves. in washington, john and i worked to balance the federal budget. why'd we do it? one, we didn't want kids to have to pay this $58,000 a kid, because that's immoral. how do we put that on our grandchildren? and the second reason is, if we balance a budget, we create certainty. if we create certainty, we can create jobs. job creators will make the decision to invest. my greatest moral purpose is to make sure that we have a
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job-creating environment. when i left washington after getting the budget balanced and cutting taxes, the economy was zooming. we paid down half a trillion dollars of the national debt, and we had a balanced budget four years in a row, and that is not a movie in the theater that's a fantasy. it actually happen. and i left washington. the whole thing fell apart. nobody stood in the breach to say no. then i went into the private sector for 10 years, was having a great time, and then i felt called back to public service and my state was dying, and i don't need to get through all of that, but let me tell you where we are today. after five years, we have grown private sector employment by 385,000 jobs. that's 385,000 families that have been helped. isn't that great?
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it means going back to politics worked. they're running a $2 billion surplus. our credit is rock solid. our pensions are solid. but the other thing you need to know, is we've done better economically. if you're mentally ill, if you're drug addicted, if you're developmentally disabled, if you're a member of the working poor or member of the minority community, we're helping you. because i believe as conservatives, and i believe as republicans, everybody must have a chance to rise. everybody --not a gift, but everybody should have the opportunity to live out their god-given purpose. and i think opportunity is what it's all about, and i also think as conservatives, we have to be
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more comfortable in terms of what we're for than what we're against, because ideas power everything. ideas are excitement. they're innovative, they're new, they're refreshing, and that's what we do. and as president, the formula that i've used, both in ohio and in washington, is a formula that needs to be repeated. common sense regulations, balanced budgets, reduced taxes, simplify the tax code, get back to common sense, hire people who
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are going to make sure that they work for you, not working for them. special interests, it's nice to hear you, but at the end of the day, we've got a job to do. so let me stop. i'll take polite applause, and then you can ask me questions. you got your hand up first. what is on your mind? just yell. audience: i have a question about paid sick leave. i have a chronic health condition and i actually have to take a year and-a-half off in college. i just graduated this past may. luckily, my parents could support me for a year and-a-half but now i'm in the workforce. and even if my job is guaranteed and i take time off, i have to choose between, you know, health
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and finances, being able to support myself. what would you do for people like me? i know it's not just myself as a young person, it's people of all ages have chronic health issues. i don't know. what do you think we should do? audience: well, personally, i think -- gov. kasich: because you're able-bodied, you play by the rules, you're not sick, you're not in the workforce, and you're being paralyzed because you're not getting experience. that's a really hard problem. audience: it is. gov. kasich: what would you like to see? audience: well, personally, i would like to see, i think, workers' comp. i think i would like to see -- gov. kasich: well, we have workers' comp. audience: yeah, and i'd like to see both the employer and the employee take responsibility in this case. a couple of --maybe a couple of
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dollars out of their paycheck. gov. kasich: so workers' comp, if you work for a company and get sick, you get help, and we've managed our workers' comp in ohio. audience: yeah, i think more --just solid paid sick leave. i think i worry about that. gov. kasich: the only thing i would tell you, i'd like to think about it. the only thing i would tell you is, you know, we also have town halls with small business people. how many people run a small business? you run a small business, and if i tell this guy he's going to have to start paying more in taxes, he may have to either go out of business or lay people off, so we may have to think about what would be the way in which we could address it? i'd hate to stand here with the first question and tell you i don't have a good answer, but i don't think you want me to stand
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here and make something up, because that's not right. but i want to think about it. you know, if you do work for a company and you get sick, we do have workers' comp. i want to go back to that. in ohio, it was a total mess, and we have rebated, i think it was about $2 billion in worker'' comp in businesses, and in particular, it helps the small business, and yet people are being taken care of and people that are sick. anybody, who no fault of their own, who gets sick, has problems, is poor or whatever, and if they can't work, we're all going to pitch in. am i right? that's the american way. in this case, this is even more of a issue, because you want to go to work, right? and you can't, and you're finding yourself in a tough situation. let me think about it. and if you have some ideas, we'd like to hear from you as well, okay. and tonight, i may not know the answer to some things, but what
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i do in my job is that i get people around --like i'm going to tell you one of the problems we have today. a 51--year-old man or woman that loses their job. where do they go? and i've asked my people to think about how we can retrain them, and how can we do it effectively? because, you know, there's only so many dollars to go around. so we have to create priorities, and then we have to think innovatively. can we train them? we know we can train them through the community college but what if they don't have any money? can we begin to train them online? can we hook them into in-demand jobs that we know exist, with training that can help them qualify for those jobs? and is it possible for the federal government to help a little bit for the states to come up with a program to all those people who have been
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displaced in their jobs because of a changing economy from the 20th century to the 21st century. the key to solving our problems, the ones that are vexing, is to look them square in the eye and say, can we fix it? and if we don't have an answer, how do we turn it? how do we twist it? how do we think about it in such a way that we can develop a solution. if you're worried about who you're going to make mad, it ain't going to work. so you can't worry about that. if you're going to be in a situation where people are going to be angry with you because you did something, that's life, because i have to tell you, i've been holding public office for a long time. in my legacy, for my goal --and i have to let you in on a little secret. the republican party is my vehicle, not my master.
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okay, the only person -- [applause] the only person i take orders from is my wife, okay. [laughter] and now that my daughters are going to turn 16, they're starting to give me orders. i'm not taking many of them. but the point is, looking to solve problems and that's what we try to do. thanks for asking the question. yes, sir, right there. none of these microphones work. where's mr. microphone when we need it. remember that, when we were kids, huh? audience: i just want to respond to that real quick, and i have another question if that's okay. i'm 61. i had a stroke a year ago. i went back to school thanks to vocational rehab in new
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hampshire. i got retrained and certified in photoshop and other adobe products, and a month ago, i got a job. [applause] i'm 61. gov. kasich: of course. you don't look 61. well, you know, then again, i'm running for president. [laughter] audience: well, i've got friends that know i am. i just wanted to ask you this question if i could. renewable energy, company's got a pretty sweet deal in the 2015 spending deal, multi-year extension of industry tax credits, in exchange for lifting
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the ban on oil export. is there talks of a similar deal in the future that would impose a carbon tax in exchange for a reduction in the corporate income tax. would you support this type of horse trade if you become president? gov. kasich: i get nervous about the idea of a carbon tax. you know what i get nervous about, is that we'll have this tax. with this tax, it's going to go up and i promise everything else is going to go down. or by the way, we're going to have a budget bill, and we'll just have a little tax increase and the rest of it will be spending. take a guess at what happens. the tax goes up and the spending --yeah, the spending goes up and the taxes --everything goes up, that's exactly right. look, what i support on tax reform is i want the corporate tax rate to come down to 25, because right now, it's so high, people keep their profits in europe, or they're moving out of
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the country to get lower taxes, and if we can bring the taxes down to 25 and not double tax them, companies will invest in this country rather than europe. there's triple dollars stacked. i'd like to get it down to 25 and get companies to write off their investment and plant immediately, so they can be more productive with higher wages. on the personal side, i'd like the top rate down to 28, 25, 10, 15% capital gains text, and then i would freeze all federal regulations for one year, force congress to vote on regulations going forward to approve them. we don't want bureaucrats making laws and then to plan to get us to a balanced budget. what would that be? you take medicare from 7-5% growth, medicaid from 5-3. freeze all nondiscretionary, freezing your priorities and $100 billion more on military because we've got to rebuild our military, at the same time, we're reforming the pentagon. i did all that in about a minute and-a-half and that was pretty good. [applause] what does that do? what that does is it sends a message to job creators. you know what's so great? he said he's 61, he had a stroke, went through rehab, and got a job. everybody was so excited about that. that's why jobs are so important, because i bet you were frustrated, and now you feel set free again, don't you? you're strengthened as an individual. it's good for the family. so if we can do the things that i'm saying, and by the way, they're all practical. they're not like --i could come
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here and promise you a zillion things but i'm not going to do that because it ain't going to happen, but what i just proposed can be enacted, particularly the corporate tax reduction which we desperately need in this country and i think we can get bipartisan support. and by the way, nothing --nothing big, fixing the border, fixing social security, dealing with all the entitlements, nothing can get done if there isn't some measure of bipartisan support, okay. it won't happen. [applause] and obamacare is a perfect example. you see what, it's not acceptable. audience: doesn't mean it's not done. gov. kasich: well, it may be done, but here's the thing. it's so unpopular that it's going to be repealed. if i'm president, it'll be repealed and we'll replace it. but what i'm saying is, you know, you're not going to fix --reagan fixed social security with tip o'neal. when john sununu and i were involved in balancing the budget, we changed medicare and you never heard a peep, because when republicans and democrats work together, you call off the demagoguery. when people demagogue and fight off the people, it's hard to get anything done. that doesn't mean you need a massive amount of bipartisan support, but it does mean you need some semblance of it. and it doesn't require anybody having to give up their principles, because i want to go back to the fact that we're
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americans before anything else. you probably haven't noticed, but we have a pretty divided ineffectual congress, i want to let you know. [laughter] news break, right? that can be healed, if we will just respect people who don't think the way that we do, and we build the issues around things like job creation, like the morality of putting our children in debt. it's not acceptable. so, sir, i want to thank you for your success story. and it's great. [applause] right here. audience: welcome to our state of new hampshire. thank you for coming. gov. kasich: i live here, man, more than you do, what are you talking about? [laughter] if you haven't met me three times, i don't know you. you know what i tell people in other states. there's 1.2 people who live in new hampshire, i've met 1.2 million twice, and i've got three more times to go. [laughter] audience: my question to you, my biggest concern is that congress is a complete mess. and part of the thing that's a mess in congress is that they're entrenched there. will you support term limits for all congress? gov. kasich: absolutely. power corrupts absolutely and absolute power corrupts. it's not going to happen, okay. let me tell you, the reason is you've got to have a constitutional amendment, but
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i'm for it. of course. we have it in ohio. guess what they do in ohio. they're in the senate, then they go to the house, then they go back to the senate. then they go back to the house, okay. [laughter] our big problem is gerrymandering, where they draw districts to provide safe republican and democrat districts and the members become more extreme because they don't want to have a primary and that pushes people farther apart. can you follow what i mean by that? you always worry about a primary. nobody can get to the right or left of me. that's not good. sir, we're going to need to look at campaign finance reform, all these things. but let me get to the bottom line about this, and john sununu said it well and i'm not sure you heard him on this. you probably did but let me reemphasize it. it's all about character. you know, do you think you can legislate morality? i was at timberland today, you know, got a great jacket, by the way. [laughter] but i was at timberland today, and i said, you have an antitheft policy here at timberland. but your policy isn't going to stop people really from stealing. people are not going to steal because they have ethics. and the problem with congress is when people get in, they want to stay. and so they're afraid to take a

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